Shipments of tablets exceeded those of netbooks this quarter for the first time, according to a research firm which says there's no going back.
ABI Research says there were 13.6 million tablets shipped this quarter, compared to 7.3 million netbooks. Apple's iPad represented 68 percent of the tablet shipments in the second quarter of the year, ABI says.
"Netbooks had previously led the way" with 8.4 million shipments in the first quarter of the year, compared to 6.4 million tablets, ABI said.
"This is a trend that we do not expect will reverse," said Jeff Orr, ABI Research group director, mobile devices, said in a statement.
He cited a number of reasons consumers are going the tablet route.
"Tablets are perceived to be easy to use, compared to the keyboard and mouse interface of a netbook computer," Orr said. "Those who have avoided PCs because they are difficult to use — think the Baby Boomer generation and older — see media tablets as an opportunity to re-engage with Internet access. Cost, however, is certainly not a reason driving tablet interest, as the average media tablet costs approximately $600 and the average netbook is only about half of that."
ABI estimates 60 million tablets will ship worldwide this year, compared to 32 million netbooks.
But the netbook is not dead — yet, ABI says. "Netbooks still hold interest in under-served countries, where PC penetration to the home, along with broadband services, are not widely available. Media tablet shipments will primarily cater to the early-adopter consumer audiences of Western Europe, the US, Japan, and South Korea."
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